How Are The World’s Biggest Countries Dealing With Online Fraud?

Woman shielding globe on computer from malicious code

Online fraud and cybercrime have become an increasing threat to our daily lives, with the likes of online banking taking prevalence over in-branch banking and many of us having several different social media accounts.

The last year and a half especially, saw us move a big chunk of our lives online, due to being stuck inside – from working at home, shopping online, and even relying on social media and other forms of online communication to keep in touch with friends and family.

In 2020, Phishing attacks skyrocketed by 718% in Europe, with over 2 million phishing sites detected by Google. Whilst cybercrime has always been a concern to many of us, our increased online presence is making us an even more vulnerable target for hackers and scammers.

It’s not just down to us, however, to protect ourselves and our data from these threats – it’s also down to companies and importantly, the government.

Here at VPNOverview, we’ve taken a look at some of the World’s biggest countries and analyzed how badly they’re affected by cybercrime – and what they’re doing to tackle it. The countries we looked at are as follows:

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • India
  • United Kingdom
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • United States

Which Country Is Most Affected By Cybercrime?

There’s a number of activities that can come under cybercrime, with some of the most notable being phishing scams, identity theft, and internet fraud.

Analyzing a report from Norton, France’s population was hit the hardest by cybercrime, around 31,600,000 online users were victims of some form of cybercrime as of 2019, which at the time, was around 48% of their population. Norton’s LifeLock service is pretty popular in the United States. You can check our review and see if it’s worth your money.

The United States also saw approximately 47% of its population hit by cybercrime, with around 157,600,000 cases reported.

Japan, India, and Germany had some of the lowest percentages, approximately 35% of Japan’s population had been hit by cybercrime – which was the lowest out of all 10 countries we looked at, with 38% of Germany’s population and 36% of India’s population being hit also.

Which Country Is Most Affected By Identity Fraud?

Identity Fraud isn’t new, for years we’ve been warned to never throw out documents with personal information such as name, or financial information without shredding them first, but our increased online presence in recent years has increased the threat by tenfold.

Hackers and other cybercriminals can use means of spyware, and keyloggers to steal personal data such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, emails, usernames, and passwords – which can lead to bank accounts being opened in your name, your money being stolen and details being passed on to illegal third parties.

The report also found that whilst having one of the lowest percentages when it comes to overall cybercrime, Japan was hit the most by identity theft – with almost 4% of their population falling victim to the crime. The United States had the second-highest number affected, with around 3.7% of the population affected by identity theft.

India had the lowest number of reports, with only approximately 1.4% of the population affected, followed very closely by the Netherlands – which again, only around 1.5% of their population being affected by identity fraud.

Who Is The Most Responsible?

So who do people think are responsible for protecting our data against cybercriminals and cybercrime? The government, companies, or ourselves? Norton’s report found that most of us believe that it’s primarily down to the government, followed by companies.

In Japan and the Netherlands over half of online users believe that it’s down to the government to prevent cybercrime and protect our personal information. The United States believes it’s the responsibility of companies and ourselves considerably more than the government, with only 29% of users believing it’s the government’s responsibility, compared to 36% thinking it’s the responsibility of the company.

The United Kingdom believes that it’s primarily down to companies to protect your data, with 37% saying it was a company responsibility, 36% saying it was the government’s, and only 27% thinking it’s our own responsibility.

What Are Countries Doing About It?

The NCSI scores each country on how well they deal with cybercrime and cybersecurity – judging on factors such as cyber incidents response, and how they’re dealing with the fight against cybercrime.

The good news is…we found out through this that every country we’ve looked at has a dedicated unit to fight against cybercrime. But how are they doing in regards to some of the other factors?

Every country scored 100% in regards to the protection of personal data, except India, who scored 0%, which is surprising as they had some of the lowest figures of those affected by cybercrime and identity fraud.

India and New Zealand were also the only countries not to score 100% in regards to the country’s fight against cybercrime, with both scoring 78% respectively.

In regards to cyber incidents response, the Netherlands was the only country to score 100% – they also had the highest overall average score, from all the factors we looked at, with 100%. Other high scorers were France and Italy, with 67% – whilst the rest of the countries scored 50%.

Which Countries Handling Cybercrime and Online Fraud The Best?

We looked at all the data we’d found from Norton’s report, and the NCIS index to find out which countries are handling cybercrime and online fraud the best, taking into account the different factors that have been discussed above, scoring the following out of 10:

  • % Of Country Affected By Cybercrime
  • % Of Country Affected By Identity Theft
  • Country’s Score On Fighting Cybercrime
  • % Of Country Who Believe The Gov. Is Responsible To Protect Personal Data

Ranking on how well countries handle cybercrime

Germany topped our list, with a total score of 36 out of 40 – around 38% of their population was targeted by cybercrime, one of the lowest out of all 10 countries we looked at, whilst they also scored 100% on their fight against cybercrime. 42% of German online users believe it’s the government’s responsibility to protect their data, again, one of the highest numbers we saw.

Closely following was Australia with a score of 31 out of 40, who despite having one of the highest estimated figures of the population hit by cybercrime at 42%, scored 100% on fighting it and only saw around 2.7% of the population affected by identity theft.

The United States found itself at the bottom of the ranking table, scoring only 24 out of 40 – likely due to being one of the worst-hit by both cybercrime and identity theft, alongside as previously mentioned, only 29% of their online users believing that the government is responsible for protecting their data.

Four different cybercrime statistics for 10 countries

Online Fraud and Businesses

It isn’t just us normal folks, however, who can be targeted by hackers and scammers; businesses can be too. And whilst cyberattacks can be detrimental to businesses and their finances, these attacks can also affect the rest of us if stored personal data is accessed and leaked.

Most disruptive types of economic fraud

It also seems like customers are on the other side of it too, with the PwC finding customer fraud (fraud being committed by the customers themselves) being the most frequent crime businesses are hit yearly, with 35% of businesses saying they’ve been targeted by it. Cybercrime followed closely behind, with 34% of businesses saying they’ve been targeted

Most disruptive events by industry

Cybercrime was also considered one of the most disruptive events in a number of industries. Industries such as ‘Government & Public Sector’, ‘Health Industries’ and ‘Tech, Media and Communications’ named Cybersecurity as the most disruptive event.

‘Financial Services’, ‘Industrial Products and Manufacturing’ and ‘Consumer Markets’ also all considered cybercrime to be one of the most disruptive crimes they’ve been hit by.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cybersecurity analyst and one of the founders of Since 2014 he has been gaining international experience working with governments, NGOs, and the private sector as a cybersecurity and VPN expert and advisor.